Your alternative source: Dog Bite
‘Velvet Changes’ heavy on nostalgia and inside jokes
Published: Friday, February 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 22, 2013 09:02
Band: Dog Bite
Album: Velvet Changes
Genre: Chillwave, Dream Pop, Electronic
Best Tracks: “Super Soaker,” “Paper Lungs,” “Stay Sedated"
R.Y.I.L.*: Washed Out, Ducktails, Atlas Sound, Toro Y Moi
Despite what they say, sometimes, you can accurately judge a book by its cover. In this case, it’s the cover art on “Velvet Changes,” the debut album by Dog Bite.
On the cover, we see a set of wandering eyes creeping from behind sandwiched negatives of dreamy pink clouds and a cluster of branches. This photography technique provides the illusion of depth and layers to a single image, which follows suit with the layered and hazy effect found in each track of “Velvet Changes.”
Phil Jones, the mastermind behind Dog Bite, isn’t all bark and no bite – he’s no puppy to the chillwave scene. In the past, he has worked with Washed Out and, currently, Dog Bite is the opening act for Toro Y Moi’s North American tour.
“Forever Until” contains a charming hook that indicates the puppy-love potential of Velvet Changes. Phil Jones begins the ballad with spacey guitar strums and playful pecks on the drums. When he sings, “Heeeyyy youuuu,” it sounds just like that boy back in high school – the one I had a crush on – who would play in his garage band on my walk home after school.
Of course, this memory is fabricated. It never actually happened. But it’s strange the way some music can conjure up memories you never thought you had (bubblegum-sweet memories at last).
In Interview Magazine, Jones explains the corky inspiration behind track seven “Native America.” He reveals “Picnic at Hanging Rocks,” the 1957 cult-classic Australian mystery film, as the food-for-thought responsible for the lyrics.
“The lady dressed in all red,” Jones said, “the teacher, there’s a line about her in there. I kind of started to think of what happened to them afterwards, after they disappeared, it just kind of came through.”
Additionally in the interview, Jones mentions that he likes “putting little references in there and seeing if anybody notices.” Throughout “Velvet Changes,” listeners recognize the repetition of “Let’s not rush” lyrics in several songs as a mantra, characterizing the whole album’s nonchalant, laid-back atmosphere.
“Paper Lungs” is definitely a stand-out track from
“Velvet Changes” for me. The track trickles into the stereo like sweat sprouting from a forehead. Next, the instruments gather together in a pattern similar to the tension heard from a heated dog’s panting. Later, the track ironically blends into “Stay Sedated,” one of my favorites by Dog Bite.
I noticed in “Stay Sedated,” Jones plants the lyrics “paper lung/ don’t be rude now/ you’ve only got my life” into the song (“Paper Lung,” being the title of the previous track). I love it when artists sneak in boomerang, self-addressed references in their work. It creates a subtle relationship between the artist and the listener, implanting revisited lyrics into new songs like an inside joke or stories that begin with “Remember when…”
Overall, this album is satisfying. The aftertaste of “Velvet Changes” is refreshing. Like licking a butterscotch sundae on a warm summer day.
The day I stop pressing play for “Velvet Changes” will be the day Helga Pataki tears down her Hey Arnold shrine. Or at least, until the day Dog Bite releases his next record.